Hollywood may live for razzle-dazzle, but some trendsetters are skipping flashy numbers in favor of softly draped dresses that are more elegant than over-the-top. In dusty pastels and sensual fabrics like jersey crepe and stretch jersey, the shamelessly flattering designs recall the timeless goddess style. "It accentuates curves without showing too much," says Roselyn Sanchez of her pale-pink Gucci. Ditto the refined—and subtly sexy—looks worn by Allison Janney and Marisa Tomei. Best with minimal accessories—strappy sandals and simple jewelry—they have a kind of star power surprising to those who've hit the red carpet in second-skin sheaths or serious cleavage. Of the Plein Sud mini that drew admiring glances in L.A., Tamala Jones declared, "This dress is dynamite!"
behind the seams
Pretty in shimmering pink perfect for her complexion, Elizabeth Banks was on the money at the Seabiscuit premiere in L.A. Wearing a delicate, beaded slip dress by Valentino with Christian Louboutin pumps and a sparkling clutch, this thoroughbred left the competition behind—and made it all look effortless.
DIAMOND GIRLS: In her Gap ads with Missy Elliott, Madonna accessorizes her duds not with rap-style bling (Missy's is from Chris Aire Los Angeles) but with serious ice borrowed from Neil Lane Estate Jewelry. Madge piled on 16 bracelets, 3 watches and 2 rings—for a total of 500 carats in diamonds, worth $5 million. Then there was the 100-carat $500,000 necklace that she wore like a wallet chain. A grateful Lane gifted her with a $20,000 "M" necklace. And some people just write thank-you notes!...
SHORT SUBJECT: Seen on Hollywood's hottest buns: retro-style running shorts with an initial on one cheek. Flying out of boutiques, including L.A.'s Kitson, the Priorities shorts are gracing the seats of stars including Giselle and Halle Berry. As if those booties required any introduction!...
To the letter: Priorities' Girly Athletic shorts, $58; www.prioritiesnyc.com
FRED ALL OVER: Does L.A. need another chichi beauty emporium? Well, the stampede of primpers who've skipped into Fred Segal Salon and Spa (a spinoff of the boutique) includes Mena Suvari, Rachael Leigh Cook and Bridget Moynahan. Aside from the luxe beauty treatments, "they really helped me relax," says ER's stressed-out doc Ming-Na, "and that's very important." Guess celebs can't get enough of that Fred-rest.
Pop and Glow
At the top of the makeup charts in Britain, Pop Beauty is a hit with princesses, including Britney Spears and Kylie Minogue. Created by singer and makeup artist Sara Strand, Pop features ultra-glossy hues designed to jazz up a finished look. "It's that last thing you add to your face to make it come alive," says Strand. Now the news flash: Pop has hit our shores, so fans can stop hoarding goodies bought in the U.K. and stock up stateside instead.
Pop's candy colors (clockwise from top): Glam Jam lip gloss, Eye Cake, Touch Up Card, Kiss Mix lip quad, Lip Jam; $10-$19; Sephora.com
Denim: White On
It's August and celebs are in the grip of white-jean fever. What's new? Details like colored trim or Samaire Armstrong's pearl chains. Worn with a bright top or pastel tee, pristine jeans are easy chic in hot weather. "Anytime I find a great white pair," Ashanti in says Christina Milian, "I save them for summer!"
Sweet on Jelly Kellys
The season's classiest beach bag is a whimsical take on a Euro-chic fave. Debra Messing, Alicia Silverstone and Kelly Osbourne have snapped up this waterproof beauty. Inspired by the Hermes (Grace) Kelly bag, it comes in colors including hibiscus and hot pink. Perfect for going from the sands of Malibu to the shops of Rodeo Drive...
Rubber totes, $150-$225; Intuition, 877-310-8442